Viva Las Vegas

I’m on the Strip in Las Vegas. A volcano erupts in front of the Mirage, giant spumes of electrical lava shoot up into the night sky. Outside Treasure Island, an attacking pirate ship blasts it cannons, setting the rigging of a merchant ship on fire. I’m walking across the street when I hear a loud crash, then hear a police siren approaching. I hear a strange wobbling sound and look to see a car coming toward me on blown out tires, and realize the car is not stopping. It crashes into a car waiting at the light, then the driver leaps out and starts running, followed by the police officer who has leapt out of his car. The man turns the corner, slips, then the police officer is on him, and another officer appears. They have drawn guns. I can see a red laser light on the man’s chest, then suddenly, he is jumping up, then I hear a dull firecracker sound, and see the man holding his arm, and then I am swept up in the panicking crowd.

The whole time I am thinking, wow, I’m in the middle of a Cops episode. Police cars are screaming in from all directions. I see a Fire Department paramedic ambulance hurtle past.

I look in the paper the next day to see if there are any accounts of the shooting, but I don’t see anything.

***

I’m out here playing in a series of poker tournaments. I play okay, but don’t make the money. In the last tournament – No Limit Hold’em. I push all in with AK suited, only to be called by a pair of Kings. The community cards dealt out in the middle are no help and I’m knocked out. I stand to leave. The dealer is already dealing out the next hand. The game goes on without me.

***

Aside from my entry fees, and a few coins tossed in a slot machine, I don’t gamble any. Still I spend too much money. I take in a show, go to a nice restaurant, a couple clubs. Everybody has their hand out for tips. Waitresses, bartenders, bouncers, bellman, cab drivers. I carry a roll of ones, passing out bills two at a time like a big shot.

***

It is my first time in Las Vegas and I get to see what it is all about: Well dressed couples getting out of limos, drunken college students staggering from one casino to the next, street people handing out flyers for Girls Girls Girls, and old people riding around on Larks(motorized wheelchair scooters) with their 02 tanks in the back.

***

I go into a pawn shop — filled with diamond rings, guitars, even fax machines — they say people are always bringing them in, but never coming back for them.

***

At a souvenir stand I buy a poker chip with a photo of Las Vegas Elvis in the middle for $1.50.

***

I think about all these huge resort casinos — Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Luxor, the Venetian and the new Wynn — all built on people’s loses. Now I guess as long as you gamble for entertainment and lose what you can afford to, I guess it’s okay.

***

I stay downtown on Freemont Street — Glitter Gulch – the old Vegas. I have a room at the Plaza for $25 a night. Beers down here are only $3. On the Strip they are $6. I eat the 99 cent shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate and the $10.99 Steak and Lobster at Tony Romas.

***

One morning sitting in front of the hotel, I see a box ambulance with a familiar logo pull up, followed by a Las Vegas Fire Department ambulance. There is a man sleeping on a bench. They rouse him. He teeters when he stands. “Move on,” they say. “Move on.” He staggers across the street. They get back in their ambulances and drive away.

1 Comment

  • sarahzd71ughill says:

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